UNF teams up with JaxPAL to create OspreyPAL

Joslyn Simmons and Pierce Turner

Video by Joslyn Simmons

Have you ever wanted to see a robot up close? Or make a mouthguard from a 3-D printer? UNF has all of that and more for students interested in science.

Students from the Police Athletic League of Jacksonville’s Teen Leadership Program explored UNF with behind-the-scenes access to the programs available on campus. The university has a partnership with the JaxPAL, which offers full-ride scholarships to attend UNF.

“We’re thrilled and honored to partner with UNF for the OspreyPAL program. This program not only removes barriers that our JaxPAL teens face but also provides support for their next steps toward college and adulthood,” said Lt. Lakesha Burton, Police Athletic League of Jacksonville executive director.

On this tour, UNF’s engineering and chemistry programs had interactive activities such as Baxter the robot and the Johnson and Johnson 3-D printer.

Harris Newsteder, a mechanical engineering senior, gave hands-on demonstrations of what his robot Phobos was able to do. With the aid of electronics, Phobos moved to the amazement of the students that circled around its silver frame.

Newsteder, a third year member of UNF’s robotics team, shared more than just the background of Phobos but also the impact it would make on his future. After college, he plans to work in the engineering field locally or in the United States Navy.

Michael Faison, a high school senior, is the vice president of the Teen Leadership Program. For him, the program provides a chance for students to learn to treat others with respect and make a difference in their own lives.

In the chemistry lab, Dr. Frederick Troendle captured the students’ attention with experiments that involved household products like dish detergent, water and baking soda.

The OspreyPAL program looks to give students who wouldn’t be financially able to attend college a chance to do so.

“It’s extremely gratifying to gain a community partner like UNF, positively impacting teens as well as developing them into the next generation of leaders in the community,” said Burton.

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